Cherwell District Council is piloting a £2.5 million scheme that offers Custom and Self-builders the chance to apply for a mortgage through their local authority with just a five per cent deposit.
Running from 3 April to 11 May 2018, the pilot will enable people with a local connection to apply for an accessible mortgage to build their own home at Graven Hill in Bicester (pictured, with a Golden Brick foundations going in).
Access to finance with a just a 5% deposit is expected to open up the market to more local people, giving them a route to finance that they might otherwise struggle to access. The pilot will then feed into the council’s decisions about taking the model forward.
Building on a reputation as a leader in custom build initiatives, Cherwell District Council has allocated up to £2.5 million in development finance to assist self-builders in the construction of their new homes.
Kelly Watson, assistant director for finance and procurement, Cherwell DC, said: “Having purchased Graven Hill and established the Graven Hill Village Development Company to deliver this pioneering project, launching this accessible mortgage scheme seemed like the next natural progression.
“At Cherwell, we pride ourselves on exploring new and innovative solutions to help people realise their dream home and are willing to take proactive steps such as this to achieve that.
“We are working with a panel of lenders to indemnify up to 20 per cent of each mortgage, which means borrowers only need a five per cent deposit. This opportunity will make the dream of a self-build home a reality for many people who have previously found the initial upfront costs to be too challenging.”
The pilot is available to up to five applicants with a local connection to Cherwell, which could be through home, work or relatives, with a local assessment used to identify the qualifying connection.
From this point applicants work with the Graven Hill Village Development Company to identify a suitable plot before applying for a mortgage, which is capped at £450,000.
Contract exchange with the Graven Hill Village Development Company will enable them to start work on the construction of their home, leading to the mortgage advancement, prior to ownership of the property transferring to the applicant.
Karen Curtin, Graven Hill’s managing director said: “Graven Hill is delighted to be working with Cherwell District Council on this pioneering scheme. It shows that our shareholder is not just keen to deliver alternative housing choices in the area but also supports innovation in making self-build more easily achievable and a mainstream housing option for all demographics.”
Sarah Wilde, mortgage policy adviser at the Building Societies Association said: “The BSA is supportive of any initiative to increase housing supply. Cherwell District Council’s scheme at the Graven Hill development is a great example of what local authorities can do to help ease the housing crisis.
“Similarly, commitment to lend on this development by the Ipswich Building Society and Ecology Building Society will help more first-time buyers make that all-important first step onto the property ladder. With 28 building societies currently lending to people building their own homes, compared to a handful of other lenders, they are the clear choice to many and leaders in this space.
“We look forward to watching this scheme develop and to hopefully seeing it rolled out across further geographies by other local authorities.”
Finance is crucial to the success of custom build projects. There are more and more products coming online, but for Cherwell to offer an up to 95% mortgage product is great news, and innovative. South Cambridgeshire District Council offers a similar route through the Arlingclose Bespoke Custom Build product, and hopefully, the more we see products like this succeeding, the more offerings will come online as other authorities link it with a way to engage with the local market.